PHOTO: An undeveloped tract at Main Street and Airline Road was chosen as the site of the new public safety headquarters based on its central location, citywide growth projections and compatibility of nearby development.
The City Council will consider whether to approve a design contract for the new public safety headquarters at its Oct. 18 meeting.
If the contract with FGM Architects is approved, the design phase will begin this year and is expected to finish in the summer of 2023. Construction is expected to begin in early 2024.
The new headquarters will be located on 14 acres of land on Main Street across from Airline Road and will house the Victoria Police Department, including dispatch services; Victoria Fire Department administration; and the City of Victoria Municipal Court.
A modern facility for a growing city
A 2017-18 study by Dewberry Architects found that the City’s public safety facilities are decentralized and outdated, with insufficient space for employees. For example, the Victoria Police Department headquarters was built in 1966, when the department had about 50 employees; today the department has 130 licensed officers and 38 civilian employees spread between the police department building, City Hall and the Victoria Mall.
The study recommended building a centralized public safety campus to respond to these issues. In 2021, the City hired FGM Architects to update the study by identifying specific needs and providing site options. The updated study also recommended a single central building for the headquarters, a more cost-effective option than the campus described in the previous study.
Amenities at the new headquarters will include larger interview rooms for police investigations, more break areas, a workout facility, technological improvements, more courtroom space and secure on-site parking.
The new headquarters will have enough space for current employees and will account for personnel growth for the next 20 years. During that time, staff is expected to grow by about 60 police department employees, three fire department administration employees and 12 court employees.
How it’s funded
The proposed $2.8 million design contract would primarily be funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act and the Victoria Sales Tax Development Corporation, which allocates funding for community development projects.
The remaining funds would come from the City’s budget. These funds were include and approved as part of the fiscal year 2023 adopted budget, which may be viewed at www.victoriatx.gov/budget.
City Council meetings are hosted at 5 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of every month at 105 W. Juan Linn St. Meetings are broadcast live on channels 15 and 115 and online at www.victoriatx.gov/tv15.